Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

Mr. Walter E. Robertson to General Marshall

4905. For your information report from Clement42 of his conversation with Chen Yi43 follows:

“In conference [at] Lini with Gen. Chen Yi no definite basis on which dated terms could be discussed was reached. I stressed the necessity for immediate agreement to avoid large scale fighting and more important to prevent immediate and future suffering of the people this winter. Appears to be in full accord is Chen but states the issue is too large to be settled in Shantung. I stressed the importance of that province, that it was essential to the unity of China, and with such a cornerstone to build on that it was possible to reach an overall agreement. He declined to commit himself on the return of cities and towns taken in June stating that the Kmt44 was now in a favorable position and moving armies for the offensive whereas Communists are on the defensive. Hence any agreement to return those areas would admit weakness. Above all he wants cease fire agreement extended. He is willing to confer at Tsingtao but due to death his Deputy Gen. Lo, the absence of his Chief of Staff Gen. Loi and the seriousness of the situation at present he can not leave until conditions are more quiet. He seems to be definitely concerned about the large scale Kmt activity at present. To my specific question ‘are you willing to confer at Tsingtao relative to establishing areas of control based on June 1 positions and the restoration of railroad to permit unhindered flow of freight’ he replied that he commanded all troops in Shantung–Honan–Hopei–Wuhu (Central China) and that he would be eager to confer at Tsingtao and reach an agreement covering this entire area but that he could not until present conditions improved. Further he was agreeable to restoration of railroads providing no troops or military equipment would be hauled. He was [Page 1282]most enthusiastic when I suggested extending cease fire agreement for a week in order to negotiate at Tsingtao. My reaction is that he appears to be greatly concerned over Nationalist activity at present and is willing to negotiate if the cease fire agreement can be extended. If extension of cease fire order is contemplated request early information so as to insure Chen Yi present Tsingtao. Am informed General Wang Yao-wu45 that conference not definitely set but that I would welcome a discussion with him should he desire to come down. Clement”.

  1. Brig. Gen. William T. Clement, Commanding General, 4th U. S. Marines (Reinf.).
  2. Communist Commander in Shantung.
  3. Kuomintang.
  4. Chinese Government Commander in Shantung.